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What is Agile Project Management?

Written by Andy Trainer – Wed 11 May 2011

Silicon Beach Training now offers the increasingly popular range of Agile Project Management training courses – but what is Agile Project Management, and why is it such a big deal all of a sudden?

In March 2011 the government unveiled its new ICT Strategy which identified a number of problems (or challenges using their words!) with the method in which IT projects and programmes were managed and delivered, causing them to fail.  The first of these challenges being:

  • "projects tend to be too big, leading to greater risk and complexity, and limiting the range of suppliers who can compete"

Silicon Beach Training now offer accredited Agile Project Management training, including the Agile Project Management Foundation course and Agile Project Management Practitioner course.

For example, if a project to implement a large IT system is deemed to take 5 years to complete, it is very likely that, in those five years circumstances (e.g. technology, customer and business requirements, even governments!) will have changed, rendering the final solution based on the original specification unfit for purpose.

A number of strategies were identified to address these challenges, one of which is “by the application of lean and agile methodologies that will reduce waste, be more responsive to changing requirements and reduce the risk of project failure”.

Agile methodologies have been used in software development for some years, but are now being applied in project management as they offer a flexible process that can change according to the customer or organisational needs.

How does Agile Project Management differ from traditional project management methodologies?

Traditionally a project manager may direct the project team using a 'command and control' style, actively directing their team towards the work that must be completed.  Agile project management uses a different technique.  At the beginning of an Agile project, a high-level plan will be created by the project manager, which is based on basic requirements and a high-level vision of the solution.  From there on the final project is created iteratively and incrementally, with each increment building on the previous increments.  Agile Project management also differs in the way that team members create the plans for each increment, rather than the project manager themselves.

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